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Economic development committee meets to discuss KPMG report

The City of Toronto’s economic development committee met Tuesday to review KPMG’s proposed cuts to cultural, employment, and social services.

“I don’t think people should jump to, right away, ‘There’s going to be cuts,’” Toronto budget chief Michael del Grande said Tuesday.

“If we could have the same program, but deliver it differently, those are the options we would look at first before we would consider cutting for the sake of cutting,” he added.

The Core Services Review of programs under Toronto’s economic development committee (EDC) was released last Tuesday.  

According to the report, the city should consider reducing or eliminating any or all of the cultural services under Toronto’s economic development division. That includes the burgeoning film industry.

Toronto film commissioner Peter Finestone helps to coordinate about a billion dollars worth of business for the city.

“We’re very lucky to do that,” Finestone said – but his department could get cut. Industry insiders warned that impending budget reductions could cripple Toronto’s film business.

“Toronto has that reputation of being a world-class film city. And I just it would be a critical mistake to do anything to jeopardize that right now,” John Webber, president of Take 5 productions, said at the hearings.

While no specific programs were discussed in the KPMG report, some areas of responsibility under this section include overseeing special projects, such as the Wychwood Car Barns and the Evergreen Brick Works, public art acquisition and museum and heritage services.

The hearings continue at City Hall.

On Monday, the Public Works Committee met to discuss KPMG’s proposed cuts to its programs, but they couldn’t even agree on how much needs to be shaved from the 2012 operating budget.

That committee decided not to make any recommendations as to what services needed to be cut. Instead, the council’s executive committee will make that decision when it meets in September.